Brunchner


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Easter brunch is a tradition in our family. Usually the Easter bread with almond filling is made the day before and early on Sunday morning I’ll get up to make the rest which I shouldn’t really call brunch but Brunchner, since I truly fill up the table so that we can be continually eating from breakfast till dinner non-stop. Beside the standard stuff like tea, juice, bread, soy yogurt and some non vegan stuff for the less stricter or non veganlly oriented among us, we always have granola and tofu scramble. The rest of the menu usually depends on how creative I (or my kids) are feeling on that weekend. This year my daughter Ella took care of the Easter bread and the cinnamon rolls, which also have become part of our Brunchner tradition. I made the tofu scramble, which I thought came out finger linking due to a spontaneous brilliant idea I had due to some left over cashew nuts I had soaking on the counter. I also found a fantastic recipe for vegetable rolls rapped with rice paper from My New Roots blog(one of the most inspirational healthy cooking blogs I have seen so far), and concocted a fresh tomato salsa, potato pancakes and chocolate mousse. Daughter Anna took care of setting the table and making tea and coffee and Tim is our house photographer who makes most of the pictures on this blog. Cyrille usually is our D.J. and mostly concentrates on making sure that we get to hear the best possible recording of St. Matthew’s passion. This year however Ella took over the music with a beautiful recording of a Mendelssohn string quartet and Cyrille dug in the garden until the food was ready.Our oldest son didn’t show up until later in the afternoon since he had slept in after having had a recital the night before.

Granola

3 cups of oat flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup of melted coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 coconut (that’s those white little cubes you see in the picture which I got from the farmer’s market, but regular desiccated coconut will due)
any other nuts or dried fruits you like

preheat oven at 180* c

– mix oat flakes, cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil in a bowl.
– add seeds and nuts
– put the mixture in an oven tray
– bake stirring regular to prevent burning
– when the flakes are golden brown remove from the tray from the oven and add the coconut and raisins and the optional fruits.
– serve with almond milk or (soy) yogurt

 

scrambled tofu (1 of 1)

 

Tofu Scramble

1 block of tofu
1 onion in cubes
2 cloves of garlic minced
about a cup of corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper in small cubes
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. majoram
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbs. dijon mustard
1 cup of soaked cashews blended with a cup of water and 2 tsp. umesu vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup minced parsley

– crumble the tofu with your hands into a bowl
– in a broad heavy pan heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes
– add the bell peppers and corn and saute for a couple of more minutes
– add the grated carrots
– add the tofu and the herbs
– cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly
– add the mustard, and salt
– pour the cashew cream and saute a couple of minutes
– turn off the fire and add the parsley

Serve with salsa

vegetables roles (1 of 1)

 

Vegetable Rolls

I would say to just look at this link and while you’re at it look through the whole amazing blog.

 

 

chocolate pudding (1 of 1)

 

Chocolate Mousse

For this I mostly just improvised with the following ingredients in the blender:

1 cup soaked cashew nuts
1 cup almond milk
3 dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 chia seeds

– blend everything until very smooth
– put in individual serving dishes and refrigerate until ready to serve

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Quick Noodles

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Yesterday was one of those Sundays when there are not real meal times. We started our Sunday with a late breakfast and at about 4.00 o’clock I began to hear voices emerge from behind screens claiming starvation. I had been preparing lessons for Monday and therefore also had to separate myself from my screen to think of how to solve this starvation situation. The solution it had to be a quick one since I wasn’t done preparing my lessons, so I opened a package of tofu I found in the fridge and decided not to allow myself to get flustered by the starvation taking place around me and by not yet having finished my school work and go ahead, try to make the best out the ingredients I had at hand and enjoy a cooking moment. What came out was quite attractive, tasty and very agreeable to the fuzzy starving eaters.Noodles with Tofu Coated with Chia Seeds

Quick Noodles with Tofu dusted with Chia Seeds 

Tofu
1 package of tofu cut in medium size cubes
3 Tbs. corn flour or tapioca flour
2 Tbs. chia seeds
a dusting of oregano
a pinch of sea salt
a dusting of smoked pimiento
oil for shallow frying

Noodles
1 package of udon noodles
broccoli cut in small florets
1/2 cucumber cut in small cubes
1 medium carrot grated

Dressing
3 Tbs.shoyu or tamari
1 Tbs. balsamico
2 tbs. olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced

1 red bell pepper cut in fine cubes
1 nori leaf per person

-in a wide bowl mix the corn flour, chia, oregano, salt and pimiento
-add the tofu cubes, cover the bowl and shake it to cover all the tofu cubes with the mixture
-in a wide frying pan heat the frying oil and fry the tofu cubes until golden brown

-boil the noodle as you normally would.
-towards the end of the cooking time throw in the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes or until the broccoli turns bright green
-rinse the noodles and broccoli with cold water and put in a nice serving bowl
-grate the carrots directly into the bowl and add the cut cucumber
-give it a good stir
-in a glass mix the dressing ingredients
-pour dressing on top of the noodles
-mix in the fried tofu with the noodles
-mix in the dressing
-sprinkle with the red peppers
-adjust seasoning by drizzling with a little extra olive oil or shoyu or tamari if desired
-serve sprinkled with finely cut pieces of nori and minced parsley or fresh coriander

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Pearl Couscous

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I am really into one dish meals lately, which I think must have to do with my very, very busy life at the moment. For this year’s new years resolution I am committing to not abandoning the things that I really enjoy doing because of being caught in the routine of daily life. Cooking is one of those things I really enjoy doing, but in order to do that I can’t always expect myself to be making fancy dinners requiring lots of time. So yes, I am excited about rediscovering the beauty in the simplicity of simple meals. Pilafs and one pan meals which include grains, beans and veggies are great at doing this job. They are not only nutritious, uncomplicated and delicious but also beautiful to look at.

After wondering around the biggest outdoor market in Amsterdam last Saturday, I came home with lots of treats which I can’t buy in my neighborhood market. One of these treats is Pearl Couscous, otherwise known as Israeli Couscous or Ptitim. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s made from wheat just like most couscous, but the grains are larger and chewier, something in between pasta and whole grain, which has a very appealing and light feel to it. It is quick and definitely an elegant addition to your repertoire.

Pearl Couscous Pilaf

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth(which I didn’t have) or water(I used water boiled with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and a tsp. of olive oil)
2 1/4 cups pearl couscous
1 eggplant cut in small cubes, sparkled with salt
2 bell peppers cut in big pieces
1 or 2 carrots cut in smallish cubes
3 cups of cooked chickpeas (can use canned)
a handful of chopped kale
a handful of roasted pine nuts

-roast the eggplant, peppers and carrots in the oven at 230* C. until the veggies are done
-in the mean time cook the couscous in the boiling hot broth(or water), simmer for about 12 minutes until the grains are cooked but not overcooked(they shouldn’t stick to each other.
-when the couscous and the vegetable are done, mix it all in an attractive serving dish
-add the kale and chickpeas and stir in the dressing and serve.

Dressing:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbs. shoyu
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. harissa(or to taste)
1/2 tsp. powder cumin

-stir everything together in a small cup or bowl

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Real Food

Buckwheat Pilaf

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I love when food looks like food, when it doesn’t pretend to be something else, when it is not ornamented with weird contraptions, when the end product is clearly traceable to its original source, when it smells like it was cooked by people, when the process is not hidden, when it is art not because it has “make-up” on but because it is so beautiful, natural, colorful, delicious, nourishing and satisfying that it fills me with a sense of wonder for the transformative power and imagination that we people have to keep ourselves alive with the wonderful and pure products that nature so abundantly provides us with.
Here are two very, very simple dishes I made this week, which I thought were so simple and attractive that there were worth sharing

Buckwheat Pilaf
2 cups of buckwheat rinsed
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion cut in small cubes
2 or 3 garlic cloves minced
1 large carrot diced
1 cube of vegetable bouillon
1 tsp. turmeric powder
a pinch of saffron
a handful of currants
a handful of roasted pine nuts

-in a deep pan warm the olive oil
-add the garlic, stir and quickly after add the onion
-stir a bit at medium fire
-add the carrots, the vegetable bouillon cube(crumbled), the turmeric and the saffron
-saute a bit, then add the buckwheat
-saute a bit more and add the water and a pinch of salt
-bring to a boil, lower the heat and place a flame deflector under the pan
-cook covered for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the buckwheat is cooked
-turn off fire
-add the currants and pine nuts and mix gently with a fork
-garnish with lots of parsley and tomatoes chopped in small cubes
-serve with a salad and a nice glass of white wine

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Potato Mash with Mushroom Garnish

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Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Garnish

a buch of potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
4 cups of sliced or chopped mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup soy milk

-boil the potatoes until they are soft
-get rid of the cooking water and pure the potatoes with a hand blender, adding salt and a generous(reasonably generous) amount of olive oil and about a tsp. of salt to create a very smooth puree
-put puree in a baking form, make it flat and smooth and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and soy milk
-sprinkle with black pepper
-bake at 200* c. for about 15 minutes or until it begins to get a nice toasty color on top
-take out of the oven and sprinkle the sautéed mushrooms on top

Mushrooms
-saute the mushrooms with the garlic and olive oil until the liquid has disappeared and they have become quite dry.

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The Onion Pie

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Yes I am still alive, and realizing how much I miss my blog!

I won’t go into all the gory details of my hectic life, but I will tell you that we had a great Oktoberfest way back in october. This fall I have tasted the best apples ever, which I picked up off the ground of my friend Caroline’s drive way in some little village near Oxford.

Teaching school kids is an all consuming activity, which unfortunately keeps me from indulging in this totally wonderful process of cooking. Nevertheless even my school kids can’t escape my cooking frenzy and I have them writing a cook book in English(they are all Dutch).

This time I am bringing you an onion pie, and I know it will make you forgive my absence, since it is so delicious and easy to make.

The Onion Pie

2 cups of flour(white with some whole wheat or spelt)
This time I added 1 tbs. of powdered flaxseeds1 tsp. sea salt, but this optional
1 tbs. arrowroot
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of water(or maybe a bit more if the dough is too dry)

-combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
-add the wet ingredients and form into a ball.
-on a smooth counter surface covered with a bit of wax paper, stretch the dough with a rolling pin and put it on an oven pie dish
-poke some holes with a fork and bake at 180* for about 10-15 minutes
-when it is done you can proceed to cover it with the onions

Filling

about 6 medium onions cut in thin half moons
2 tbs. olive oil
1 bay leaf
sea salt
olives for garnish
sun dried tomatoes for garnish

-warm the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions with the sea salt and bay leaf.
-cook the onions stirring regularly and let them caramelize.
-they are ready when they become really sweet, soft and shiny
-spread the onions evenly on the baked pie crust and garnish with the olives and sun dried tomatoes if you like.

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The Cooking Angels

Sometimes one just has to let someone else do the cooking. Maybe that someone cooks so well that if one insists in doing all the cooking one would be terribly missing out on some major yumminess, or maybe the others are really good at preparing quick lunches with the ingredients that are around at moments when one has to spend hours at the computer preparing lesson plans for the impending and fast approaching school year. I will be starting a new job at a Waldorf School teaching English as a foreign language, and although I am really looking forward to it, in combination with my cooking activities it will be quite a handful. So I am very relieved to be able to count on these cooking angles with whom I share a home, to regularly lavish me with delicious wholesome treats and wonderful meals.

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Yesterday my husband made a wonderful rice dish for lunch, with fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market. He made it in such a way that the vegetables remained colourful and vibrant, but at the same time were cooked long enough to impart loads of flavour to the dish; specially the whole cherry tomatoes were a special surprise.

Farmer’s Market Veggie Rice
about 3 cups of cooked brown rice(left over is perfect)
1 or 2 onions cubed
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 large carrot cut in small pieces
1 red bell pepper cubed small
1 cup of brad beans
1 leek cut fine
about a cup of cherry tomatoes
a bunch of black olive
sea salt
pepper
paprika
2 tbs.tamari
2 tbs. mirin

-sauté the onions and garlic in a broad cooking pan with a bit of olive oil(about 2 tbs) and a pinch of salt
-add the veggies one group at the time starting with the carrots
-add the red bell peppers, the broad beans and leeks and stir a bit
-add the paprika powder and the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and cook a bit, stirring but don’t bruise the tomatoes
-add the olives and the rice, stir a bit and add the mirin and tamari
-cook at low and medium fire stirring to make it cook evenly and prevent burning
-after about 10 minutes turn off the fire and served garnished with spring

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Chocolate Banana Nutcase
210 gram mixed ground nuts (about 3 cups)
1 small cup fine polenta
1 cup cacao powder
1 3/4 cup palm sugar
2 tablespoons maca
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 bananas well mashed
3 tablespoons coconut butter melted
1 1/2 tablespoon butter(substitute for melted coconut oil)
1/4 cup coconut milk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon grated ginger

-combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl
-in another bowl combine all the wet ingredients including the banana
-mix the wet and dry
-prepare an oven try by covering it with baking paper
-spread the batter evenly on the tray and bake it for about 15 minutes at 180* C

My oldest daughter Ella took care of dessert today. She is a fantastic cook and great at just whipping something up out of thin air. Ella made some seriously rhapsodic brownie like things, that made us all desperate for a second piece and in some cases a third.
I got to finish my lesson plans and have a great dinner, as well as figure out what to put in my and my 12 year old daughter Anna’s lunch lunchbox, since we both have our first school day tomorrow albeit in different roles. While others were taking care of dinner I put a dish in the oven filled with sliced zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and bell pepper, with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. I let them roast and tomorrow I will drizzle the veggies with a bit of balsamic vinegar, minced basil and some pine nuts to make delicious sandwiches.

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Carrot Cake Pudding with Ginger Syrup

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My oldest son plays the piano. He is not just a pianist, but a wonderful pianist, possibly one of the best of the younger generation in the Netherlands and tomorrow he is presenting his first cd, which of course is a festive occasion for our whole family. In the spirit of this festive occasion part of our family decided to spend some time in the kitchen, of course! My munchkin Anna and I decided to do some baking and Cyrille(husband) made a fantastic mushroom risotto for dinner. I will concentrate on my contribution since Anna baked amazing chocolate chip cookies from a Mooswood dessert cookbook and Cyrille doesn’t ever measure any ingredient so it is practically impossible to reproduce anything he makes and share it on a blog.

My cake came about as a result of my desire to create a carrot cake which would focus on the intensity and yumminess of the carrots rather than on the cakekiness of the cake, if you get what I am saying! One of the things I like about carrot cake is its moist comforting quality, which I wanted to emphasize by making my dessert more like a pudding than a cake; I don’t mean a cake that failed as a cake and resigned to being a pudding(we’ve all had some of those), but an elegant mixture of the two, cake and pudding.

At the moment I am also a bit taken by the wheat controversy and the possible negative effects that many seem to attribute to it(just read the book Wheat Belly and I am trying to process the information in it). So I was inspired to make a cake without wheat and with as little flour as possible, for which I think carrots lend themselves quite well. Besides the the fact that I didn’t use much flour(one cup of spelt) the other unusual things in this cake/pudding is the use of corn flour, coconut milk and thickly grated carrot as opposed to finely grated. But the funniest thing of all is that when I was making this dessert I forgot to add a sweetener to the batter, which I realized when the cake was already in the oven. At that point I decided to solve the problem with a ginger syrup which would go on the cake after it came out of the oven, this worked out great, in fact it seems like the perfect way to sweeten this dessert. Everyone at home loved the result including guests who are not used to putting up with my experiments, so I am confident that you will love it too!

Carrot Cake Pudding with Ginger Syrup

3 cups medium grated carrots
2 grated apples
1 1/4 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
the juice of one orange
the peel of one orange
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbs flaxseeds
1 tbs chia seeds
a handful of raisins
2 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp clove powder

-put the grated carrots and grated apples in a large bowl
-in another bowl mix all the dry ingredients
-in a third bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix the wet ingredients with the grated ingredients and add the dry ingredients, mix well
-prepare a cake pan covering the bottom with wax paper and greasing the sides with oil
-pour the batter in the cake pan and bake at 180* C for about 30 minutes
-pour the ginger syrup evenly on top of the cake before taking it out of the cake pan and whilenit is still hot
-let the cake cool off a bit without cutting

Ginger Syrup

slices of fresh ginger(about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup rice syrup

-put everything in a pan and cook it for about 10 minutes until the ginger flavour is absorbed in the rice syrup
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Veggie Pie with Sumac

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Early this morning my oldest daughter was laying on the kitchen floor quietly doing Alexander Technique exercises while listening to the string trio version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. If something is going to put me in a peaceful, creative mood is that piece. I had bought a bunch of zucchini thinking about continuing my experiments with jams and canning, but I woke up with the pie bug and got excited about making a savoury one which would taste fresh and not too baked(whatever that means!).
I hope that you all are aware of how easy it is to make a pie, because it really is! Once you have the basic measurements for a dough the rest is play, and if you turn on the Goldberg Variations, or any other Bach, ideas and inner peace will come your way while you cook. You can use the basic measurements and ingredients in this pie crust for all sorts of pies, sweet or savoury.You can add nuts, sweeteners, seeds, herbs, spices or pretty much whatever tickles your fancy, and it will work. This time I wanted a pie in which the vegetables would still feel alive and crunchy to counter balance the “bakiness” of the crust, unlike most quiches.

The combination of the fresh vegetables and the baked “buttery” crust was really sexy. The only vegetables I briefly sautéd were the zucchini and red bell peppers, the rest was all raw. I used agar to make it all hold together, which I have never used in savoury dishes, except long ago for an aspic which nobody liked including myself. After the pie was done for some reason I felt a bit insecure about what the rest of crew would think of it, so I didn’t advertise it at all, just left it there on the kitchen counter , but within less than a half an hour it was completely gone. I think that this combination of a semi raw vegetable pie is something I will be playing with again, since I really love pies, but often consider them on the heavy, overly cooked, greasy, not fresh side, this way however I feel that I can have my pie and eat it.

Crust:
2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
2 zucchinis cut in smallish cubes
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper cut in cubes
3 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
a bunch of chives
a couple of oregano sprigs
a couple of basil leaves
2 cups of cashew milk(it can be any other milk)
a couple of drops of lemon juice
a pinch of saffron
1 tbs agar agar
3 tbs chia seeds
2 tomatoes seeded and cubed
a handful of spinach roughly minced

Crust:
-make the crust, mix the flour and salt and add the coconut oil
-work with a fork until it looks like wet sand the add the water and form a ball
-wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 10 minutes
-stretch out the dough on a sheet of baking paper with the help of a rolling pin
-transfer to a pie dish and bake for about 15 minutes in a. Preheated oven at 180* c

Filling:
-in a wide pan sauté garlic and add zucchini and a pinch of salt
-add red peppers and stir
-add some of the oregano and basil and stir

-in a sauce pan heat up the milk and add a pinch of salt and a couple of drops of lemon juice
-add the saffron and a minced garlic clove
-when is very hot add the agar powder and stir well, turn off fire when it begins to thicken

Putting it Together:
-when the crust is done fill with the cooked zucchini and add the tomatoes and spinach as well as the rest of the herbs and the chia seeds
-pour the agar milk on the veggies and sprinkle with sumac
-wait until it sets a bit before cutting

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The Cycle of Jam

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Today while shopping with my daughter for school supplies in Amsterdam I caught myself regularly looking at my reflection on store windows, or inadvertently staring into every mirror I came across. This masochistic behaviour is not something I have indulged in for the last 32 years(yes I am 50), but somehow it popped up again, and I wondered why.
Having two teenage daughters with beautiful figures, who look great on anything they wear is of course no great confidence booster for my 50 year old ego, although I am extremely pleased to see how lovely they have turned out. When I looked for my reflection on those shop windows I was also looking for that teenager of 32 years ago, but what was the teenager looking for way back then anyway, when she repeatedly looked at her reflection on the store windows?

That search for perfection! Funny enough art is much kinder; perfection often lies in the beauty of the imperfect. Although creating art is more often than not a painstaking process, the product mostly has the ease of something that has always existed, something that couldn’t and shouldn’t be any other way. The artist often uses his skill to portray perfection and beauty in the imperfection and vulnerability of life. When we look at the curves in those plump Botticelli women or at the dark, wrinkled images of the characters in Rembrandt’s paintings, we don’t turn away thinking that those women really should have been thinner or less wrinkled, on the contrary we look into their souls and embrace the beauty, pain, and life that they portray.

We people are also works of art, and if I remind myself to look at my window reflection with the same wonder for life that I look at Rembrandt’s characters, the ones looking back at me from the walls of the Rijksmuseum I will see myself in all my perfectly imperfect glory and enjoy!

The food I love is also not about perfection. I love to cook foods that don’t look perfect, foods that happen from the messy interaction with life. I love foods that cook in one large pan, in which ingredients are measured by handfuls or pinches and not by grams. I don’t feel tempted by those large plates with a couple of creamy drops of something in the centre. I love the beauty of the big pot with stuff in it.

Today I made a big pot of tomato jam, and it was fun to go from the plump juicy tomatoes to the concentrated, reduced, sweet, spicy gooey jam; a whole cycle in 11/2 hour.

Tomato Jam
about 2.5 kilo of tomatoes
11/2 cups honey
1 cup of sucanat(granulated cane juice)
the juice of one lemon
the peel of 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp clove powder
4 cardamon pods
a pinch of salt

-cut the tomatoes in medium size pieces(I cut them in pieces of 4)
-put all the ingredients in a large pan and let them cook until the whole thing becomes jam, about an hour and a half
-stir occasionally, and don’t let it get super thick since it will thicken when it cools off
-when the jam is done put it in glass jars, let it cool off and refrigerated for up to a couple of weeks.
-you can also can it in sterilized jars(which is what I did this time, since I want to practice to get really good at canning and preserving), in this case you can store your jam outside the fridge for several months.

if you want to can your jam:
-have a large pan of boiling water where you can boil your already cleaned jars and lids(use new lids, since they are safer against bacteria) while the jam is cooking
-when the jam is almost ready boil the empty jars and lids
-take them out after they have boiled for about 10 minutes, use kitchen tangs to get them out, and place the jars and lids on a clean kitchen towel
-fill the jars with jam, but leave a bit of a space on top, and wipe the jars well with a clean towel
-close the jars well and put them in the pan with boiling water again to boil for about 10 minutes, make sure that the pots are completely under water
-take the jam pots out carefully and place them on a kitchen towel and let them cool off
-you know that your pots are properly sealed when you push the center of the lid and the lid doesn’t bounce back. The lids should be flat, rather sinking than bulging.
-if the pots are not well sealed put them in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage

BTW Tomato Jam is delicious!

Fusion Udons

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Today for a change all our kids were home at the same time, the 20 year old who has been living in Amsterdam, the 19 year old who lives near Frankfurt and the two younger ones who are 16 and 12. This created a cozy, familiar and rambunctious atmosphere, which although very welcome has a different dynamic than what has become our normal daily life with our two younger kids.
Four kids in the house means four different sets of needs, schedules and tastes, which makes for a lot of activity in the kitchen: refrigerator open, refrigerator closed, peanut butter sandwich here, coffee there, no gluten for one, an egg for another(yes an egg!). Dishes pile up in our huge sink, crumbs gather on different places of the counter, and regardless of the constant in an out of the kitchen there is always someone who is absolutely starving and needs a meal right away. And, in spite of the shameful abundance in which we seem to live, there is always someone’s voice heard saying: “there is really nothing to eat here, am sooo hungry!”
By four o’clock it seemed that we had spent the whole day eating but at the same time nobody had had a substantial meal. It dawned on me that Tim and Anna both had end of the year music and dance performances and that they needed to eat something that resembled a meal before leaving the house. I had to be quick, I only had an hour to make something and have them eat it. After snooping around the fridge and pantry this is what came out, and I must say it worked!

1 package of Udon noodles
1 tbs coconut oil
3 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
1 leek washed well and sliced in thin diagonal pieces
2 tomatoes cut in medium size cubes
1 carrot cut in matchsticks
1/2 red pepper cut in cubes
1/2 of a pointed cabbage thinly sliced
1 cup of cooked black beans(I sometimes use canned)
sea salt
a couple of tablespoons of tamari
chipotle pepper
1 tbs roasted sesame oil
fresh cilantro leaves chopped

-cook the noodles in boiling water according to package instruction
-heat the coconut oil in a wok
-add the garlic and tomatoes and cook at high heat stirring
-add carrots and continue stirring
-add the leeks and cabbage and cook a bit, controlling the fire
– after several minutes after the mixture has gotten aromatic and a bit caramelized add the black beans, salt and chipotle
-add tamari and stir well
-add the cooked noodles and stir fry a bit more, adding the sesame oil at the end
-give it a good stir and garnish with cilantro leaves
-serve